Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Adding Folate to Tortilla Flour Might Cut Birth Defects Among Hispanics

Adding Folate to Tortilla Flour Might Cut Birth Defects Among Hispanics

06/16/11

THURSDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- To reduce neural tube defects among the U.S. Hispanic population, fortify the corn flour used to make tortillas with folic acid, experts suggest.

In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring that cereal grains used in bread and pasta be fortified with the B vitamin folic acid. Experts credit that requirement with reducing the rate of neural tube defects, or birth defects involving the brain and spine, by about 30 percent in the ensuing years, according to a news release from the March of Dimes.

Still, about 3,000 pregnancies in the United States are affected by neural tube defects each year, and the rate among Hispanics remains 20 percent higher than for non-Hispanic white women.

One way of combating this would be to add folic acid to the corn masa flour used to make products common in the Hispanic diet, such as corn tortillas and tamales, according to a commentary from the March of Dimes, published in the June 16 online edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

"Fortification of cereal grains with folic acid in 1998 is a public health success story. Adding this B vitamin to corn masa flour will build on that initiative and begin to address the disparities in these birth defects," said lead author Dr. Alan R. Fleischman, March of Dimes medical director.

"Despite the fact that fortification has given thousands of babies a healthy start in life, it is imperative we address this serious health problem in the Hispanic community. Public health officials and businesses must work together to expand the success of folic acid fortification to corn masa and to the Hispanic community in the U.S.," he added.

Neural tube defects include spina bifida (a spinal-cord malformation that can cause paralysis and lifelong disability) and anencephaly (a lethal condition in which the brain and skull don't develop).

Many countries in Latin America, including Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico, already fortify their food products with folic acid. In the United States, FDA approval would be required for the government to target the Hispanic population and also fortify corn masa flour with folic acid.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on the benefits of taking folic acid.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >